With Christmas just around the corner, most of you have probably already bought all the gifts you need to buy, but if you're like me, you've left the stocking-stuffer items till the last minute.
(Actually, if you're like me you may still have some gifts to buy as well)
Here are a few things you might want to consider as gifts for gondolier friends.
More to the point, here's a list you could mention to those family members who might soon be stuffing your stocking.
Or maybe you might just print it out and happen to leave it on a counter somewhere.
Swiss Army knife
I prefer the Victorinox variation – I always have one of the smaller versions that have a little red flashlight and ball-point pen built in. It also has a cap lifter (that would be a bottle opener) - essential when you need to open someone’s Martinelli’s…or your own frosty beverage of choice at the end of the evening.
A lot of passengers arrive with their own wine.
Not all of them think it through and bring a corkscrew.
A good gondolier is prepared for such things.
Having a nice looking wine opener is important too, because unlike most things on the boat, this item comes in direct contact with something the passengers will put to their mouth.
The Mini Maglite is a great choice, and not as expensive as some of the more high-tech flashlights on the market. The AA size Mini Maglite fits perfectly in the canon (little brass rose vase piece on the bow), and when you twist off the lid, it becomes a great running light.
These little flishlights are remarkably bright, and easy to keep on a keyring or somewhere handy.
I posted about one such product called the "Photon Light" a few years back.
Just this week I used my Photon to get the attention of a drunk Duffy driver.
Last night I used it to help a passenger who was struggling to get their camera working, and a quick sweep of the passenger area after each cruise helps guests find their things before they step off the gondola.
Here's a link to my post on the the Photon:
In the colder months, a lot of gondoliers like to swap out their straw hats for something warmer (and less affected by wind). The black watch cap fits the bill and tucks easily into a pocket as well.
Coffee. I live on coffee.
Gotta have it on my boat, especially if I'm gonna do any singing.
Recently my daughter's voice teacher expressed surprise when I told her that I drank coffee before singing (I guess caffeine is looked down upon by serious vocalists). My response was a phrase I use a lot: "Hey, I'm a gondolier".
We just do what we need to do.
As I run out the door for a night of rowing in the cold night air, my stainless steel Thermos is almost always with me...and that caffeine definitely helps do what I need to do.
Not all gondoliers prefer to wear a bandana around their neck
(although it does help fight the chill of winter).
Some gondoliers tuck a bandana in their back pocket,
or simply keep it in their bag.
A simple square of cloth can be invaluable in the job we perform.
I'd list off some fo the many uses, but you're a creative bunch - I'll let you mull it over yourselves.
They have these at the hardware store just down the street from my house,
and probably at bookstores too. The one I keep in my bag weighs nothing and can make a huge difference for that passenger who starts asking about the different shorebirds they see.
Anybody want to add to this list?
Merry Christmas, my amici.
- Gondola Greg